Pho beef noodle soup has a different taste and a flavor characteristic of North Vietnam. In Central Vietnam, Quang noodle soup is a specialty food of Quang Nam province, the elegant Cao Lau dish is usually mentioned along Hoi An. Talking about Tien Giang province in Southern Vietnam, we could not miss the famous My Tho clear rice noodle soup (or Hu tieu My Tho) – a dish showing specific characteristics of the region. My Tho clear rice noodle soup was recognized as Asian records, announced by Asian Records Organization in 2013.
Like other cities in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, My Tho city was established over 3 decades ago. It has been said that Hu tieu was brought into Vietnam by Quang Dong and Hai Nam people who were chased by Thanh Dynasty (China) ran to Mekong Delta and lived there. Later, Chinese people lived in Phnom Penh (Cambodia) brought another kind of Hu tieu – Nam Young Hu tieu to South Vietnam. People in Mekong Delta including My Tho have changed the Hu tieu recipe of Chinese people to meet local tastes and preferences. My Tho clear rice noodle soup has been more and more popular at restaurants from cheap to expensive.
Hu tieu is a flavorful dish which is a complete meal in itself and is best served for breakfast or lunch, dinner. The dish has become popular in the country due to amazing taste. Although My Tho clear rice noodle soup can be found at many restaurants in other regions, it is said to be the most delicious in My Tho city of Tien Giang where it originated from. Similar to most of the Vietnamese noodle soups, Hu tieu My Tho consists of 4 part: the rich broth, the tender and sticky clear rice noodles, flavorful toppings, fresh vegetables, and herbs.
The broth (or Nuoc leo) is an important part of the dish. Each cook in My Tho has his own recipe for cooking the broth which is rich and sweet perfectly. Nuoc leo is usually cooked from familiar ingredients such as pork thighbone, pork, dried squid, dried shrimp, daikon, etc.
Clear rice noodles are thinner than Pho noodles, Hue beef rice noodles. In comparison to other kinds of clear rice noodles, My Tho clear rice noodles are thinner, more transparent, crunchier. They are different and unique because they are made from Go Cat smelling rice grown in My Phong commune, My Tho city. Go Cat smelling rice has been the best choice to make other kinds of rice noodles, rice paper, turmeric cake for a long time. Hu tieu noodles are made by cutting dry rice sheets into noodles.
One of the highlights of My Tho clear rice noodles is the rice sheets are cooked on rice-husk-burning brick stoves which are built dozens of years ago. The temperature of the stove must be approximately 120 degrees Celcius. If the heat is too high, the noodle will not be transparent. Otherwise, the noodle will not crunchy. After the rice sheets are steamed until pleasant, they are rolled onto bamboo tubes and dried on bamboo sheets under the sun for about 3 hours, then cut into noodles.
To serve, dry clear rice noodles are soaked in boiling water for about 1 minutes so that the noodles are not too tender not too hard, then put into a soup bowl. Various delicious toppings are put onto the clear rice noodles, then the boiling broth is ladled into the bowl until it covers noodles and toppings. Now the poached dried clear rice noodles turn crunchy and tender, all of the toppings at room temperature also turn hot. Toppings such as poached seasoned ground pork, pig’s small intestine, toasted ground dried shrimp, deep-fried pork fat, pork liver, char siu pork, coriander, green onion, napa cabbage are must parts of the dish.
Vietnamese people love to dip toppings in fish sauce while eating Hu tieu to enhance the flavor of the dish. There is still one more thing we should not miss. It is a plate of fresh and aromatic vegetables and herbs which make the dish less greasy and more smelling. Before eating, dinner usually put the veggies and herbs into the bowl of Hu tieu. Lime wedges and chili pepper slices are also served for whom would like to add hotness and sourness. A bowl of Hu tieu My Tho is a perfect combination. The blend of the hot rich broth, crunchy clear rice noodles, savory, greasy and buttery tastes of toppings, fresh veggies and herbs, savory and smelling fish sauce.
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